News / USA

US Women's Field Hockey Team Aims for London Podium

Parke Brewer
The United States has won only one medal in women’s Olympic field hockey, and that was a bronze when the nation hosted the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.  But this year’s team has high expectations that it will reach the podium at the London Olympics.  
 
After receiving an automatic berth as host of women’s Olympic field hockey at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, the United States failed to qualify for the event at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.  So it hired a new coach in 2005, Lee Bodimeade,  who won a silver medal playing men’s field hockey for Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

He says his philosophy of the game, and the fact that the culture of Australian and American sports are similar, helped him get the job.

“It’s an aggressive mentality to go and get the ball," said Bodimeade. "And my real belief is empowering the athletes and having them be the driver to success which is ultimately what determines it.  And I wanted to give them the freedom to be able to play and make decisions on the run and, as I said, empower them to have the knowledge and ability to do so.”

Bodimeade guided the American women to a berth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  They were rated 11th in the 12-team field and finished 8th.  Seven of the Beijing players are on Bodimeade’s team for the London Games.
 
“What’s transpired since then is we have an addition of young, fast, skillful athletes that are elevating the performance, and so that’s what we’ve got," he said. "We’ve got the base level of senior players that have a very, very good fundamental base of skill, and now we have the real sharp elevated skill level from the newer players in the group.”

The U.S. women upset then-world number-one Argentina at last year’s Pan American Games in Mexico to earn an automatic Olympic berth  And in a recent series of pre-Olympic warm-up matches against the world champions in Virginia, the Americans and Argentines each won once and played to two draws.
 
Bodimeade says it is important for his players to test themselves against the best.

“Everything is about being able to execute the basic skills under extreme pressure and at speed," he said. "And the more you’re exposed to that, the more you’re able to adapt and be able produce at that level.  And we’ve really worked hard on our basic skill level and being able to do that under pressure, and that has driven our elevation of performance.”

The captain of the U.S. women’s field hockey team is 27-year-old central defender Lauren Crandall.

Bodimeade calls her an exceptional, disciplined hockey player who drives the team.

“She has to be all things.  She has to be smart," he said. "She has to be able to read the play exceptionally well, her ability to distribute [the ball] and to set our attacking plays.  She’s the key to it, and that’s what she does very well.”

Crandall grew up playing soccer, but switched to field hockey in high school.  She says she never had thoughts of competing in an Olympics.  She just loved the competition and worked hard at the sport without knowing where it might lead her.

Now, with recent successes, she and her teammates believe they can win an Olympic medal in London.

“You know we’re ranked 10th in the world right now, but we feel like if we follow the process like we have been and taking the steps that we need to, we’ll put ourselves in position to be standing on the podium at the end of the London Games," said Crandall.

To do it, the United States will need to get through round-robin matches in a difficult Pool B that includes Argentina, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa.

Coach Bodimeade says his team is ready for the challenge.

“Nobody goes to the Olympics for experience in my book," he said. "You are going there to win.  And that’s the belief that I have.  We’re going in there to put in these performances that will give us the result that we want.”

And that is to capture the first Olympic medal for U.S. women’s field hockey since 1984.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid